Nationality

Page updated:

Major revision March 1997

Background

NY100 Over the last decades, British nationality law has been used to restrict the number of Black people having the right to live in the UK while maximising the opportunities for white non-residents with British ancestors to retain this right. The Green Party believes that such nationality laws must be reformed.

Principles

NY200 Legal nationality is an expression of rights and responsibilities between individuals and government. It is a different concept from cultural or ethnic identity.

NY201 The Green Party believes that rights and responsibilities between individuals and government should be based on residence. They should be expressed in terms of citizenship rather than nationality.

NY202 We view citizenship as a set of responsibilities and rights based on residence in and commitment to a geographical area. It is gained by living in the area ì not granted by government. It is lost by extended absence.

NY203 In the long term, the Green Party wishes to see the concept of legal nationality abolished. In the short term, while other countries use it, this is not possible.

NY204 While it remains, British nationality must be based predominantly on residence rather than inheritance and must not discriminate by colour or race across generations.

Objectives

NY300 We will work to create a world of global inter-responsibility in which the concept of a 'British national' is irrelevant and outdated.

Long-term Policies

NY400 We will progressively transfer all rights and responsibilities between individuals and government to depend on residence instead of nationality.

NY401 We will seek an alternative to the British Consular Service for protecting individuals overseas.

Short-term Policies

Citizenship

NY500 Responsibilities and rights of citizenship will include Citizens' Income, personal taxation and the right to participate in the democratic process. The Green Party will therefore base the right to vote and to stand in elections on residence rather than nationality. The residence qualification for a responsibility or right will depend on its nature and consequences if temporary residents and visitors will be excluded from some. Responsibilities and rights will be retained for a reasonable period by those normally resident in but temporarily absent from an area. (Note: Further detail including specific durations will go into policy statements).

NY501 We will promote and support, within the European Community, the principle of equal rights for residents (including migrant workers) and nationals, excluding the right to indefinite residence. Residents and nationals should have the same rights of movement and of political, social and religious activity. They should have equal rights in access to housing, employment, welfare services, health care, education and legal aid.

Nationality Law

NY510 We will replace current British nationality legislation in order to provide a single class of British nationality. All British nationals will have the right of residence in the UK. Such British nationality will automatically include all those currently in a category of British nationality which does not give entry to the UK.

NY511 While recognising that the concept of nationality is inherently racially discriminatory, we will ensure that the system of conferring British nationality on those not in receipt of it at birth does not discriminate on grounds of race, colour, religion, political belief, disability, sex or sexual orientation between those who meet one of the following conditions:

a)Present or planned family relationship (including extended family and non-married partnership) to an existing British national;

b)Asylum seekers. (see 'Refugees and Asylum Seekers' section)

NY512 We will ensure that the system of conferring British nationality includes access to an independent appeal process and allows prospective British nationals in the UK to remain during this process.

NY513 This legislation will ensure that British nationality is automatically received by:

a)All children born in the UK.

b)All children born overseas of British nationals normally resident in the UK.

c)All children of British nationals with no other nationality at birth.

NY514 British nationality will also be automatically available prior to their 18th birthday to all children of British nationals born overseas but now normally resident in the UK. Evidence of such residence would be required.

NY515 British nationality will not be automatically available to children of British nationals settled elsewhere, unless the country of birth did not provide them with a nationality or they move to the UK to reside before their 18th birthday.

NY516 We will permit British Nationals to hold multiple nationalities.

Nationality and Employment

NY520 We will accept equivalent overseas educational and professional qualifications for jobs in the public sector and encourage this in the private sector. We will set up a register of overseas qualifications and their UK equivalents to assist this. We will encourage and fund supplementary training or conversion courses where necessary.

NY521 We will make Civil Service jobs available to all suitably qualified residents except where this gives an objective conflict of interest in the individual case.

Other

NY530 We will provide sufficient staff and resources for nationality applications to be processed without excessive delay. No fees will be charged for processing nationality applications.

NY531 On the independence or secession of any part of the United Kingdom, all British nationals residing in the area affected will be offered the option of retaining British nationality (as well as or instead of any nationality of the new area).